Monday, August 12, 2019

Week 33: Butter Garlic Noodles

The Recipe
~400g pasta
90g butter
6-8 cloves garlic, minced
150g bacon, sliced (optional)
1 bell pepper, sliced
A handful of cherry tomatoes, halved
1tsp salt
1tsp pepper
~3/4dl Parmesan or Parmigiano cheese
Fresh basil (optional)

Cook pasta according to instructions on package.

Meanwhile, cook bacon in a small saucepan. Remove bacon, leaving fat behind and cook the sliced bell pepper until soft. Add a bit of water if the pan runs dry. Remove bell pepper. Turn heat to medium low and melt butter. Once the butter has melted, add garlic and cook for about 5 minutes until translucent - do NOT allow garlic to brown. Add salt and pepper, bell pepper, bacon and cherry tomatoes.

Drain the pasta and mix with the cheese. Pour the sauce over top and stir to combine. Allow the pasta to rest for a few minutes to absorb some of the butter.

Serve with basil and a sweet chili sauce if desired.

The Verdict
VERY garlicky! But we like garlic, so that's all good :-D The sauce didn't coat the pasta quite as nicely as I'd hoped for, but I think I may just not have left it to rest long enough. But it tasted great, so if you don't mind smelling like garlic for the rest of the evening, I'd definitely recommend it. I think I'd add more tomatoes next time though. I used about 7-8 this time and it could easily have carried twice that.

Monday, July 29, 2019

Week 30: Grilled Corn on the Cob

The Recipe
2 corn on the cob, peeled (... or whatever you'd call it...)
1 clove garlic, thinly sliced
Olive oil

Heat the olive oil in a pan over medium-high heat and quickly saute the garlic until fragrant - about a minute. Lower the heat slightly and add the corn, grilling 2 minutes on each side. Sprinkle with salt and serve immediately.

The Verdict
SUPER easy to make, and really, really tasty. No modifications necessary.

Tuesday, July 16, 2019

Week 29: BBQ Chicken

The Recipe
~800g chicken (mix of dark and light meat)
2 onions, sliced
1 350ml bottle of BBQ sauce

Add everything to the crockpot in the order listed and cook on LOW for 6-8 hours.

Serve with boiled potatoes and some greens.

The Verdict
DH prefers light meat, I prefer dark, so this was a good chance for each of us to get our preference. One of the easiest crock-pot meals I've found so far (only 3 ingredients? sign me up!) and SUPER tasty. There was PLENTY of BBQ sauce, so it's possible that 1 cup would have been enough... but it's also possible that the fact that the chicken was completely covered is what made this so good!

I didn't try the light meat, but the dark was really, really good and I ate far more than I should have.

Week 28: Watermelon Lemonade

The Recipe
1 large watermelon
~1l soda water with citrus
Powdered sugar to taste

Do yourself a favour and make sure to either get a seedless watermelon or one with REALLY BIG SEEDS!! I got one which claimed to be seedless, but which ended up having a ton of really tiny seeds instead. They were a hassle and a half to remove and took MUCH longer than it ought to!

Cut the top off the watermelon and scoop out the flesh into a large bowl, removing any seeds on the way. Either add it to a blender or use an immersion blender to mash up the flesh finely. Depending on how much pulp you like you can either leave it as is or pour it through a sieve to just get the juice. If you do the latter, leave it to drip for awhile, stirring the remaining pulp from time to time - you can get a lot more out of it than you originally think.

Pour in the soda and add powdered / caster sugar to taste. It does have to be caster sugar rather than regular, as we want it to dissolve completely.

Add some ice cubes to the hollowed-out watermelon and pour in the lemonade. Keep the rest in a jar next to it for easy refills.

The Verdict
Really easy to make, but it didn't look quite as "wow" as I'd hoped. I think next time I might go for the easy solution and just cut up the watermelon rather than using it as a serving dish. The large surface area also allowed the fizz to disappear really quickly from the soda, which was a shame.

I did like it though 🙂 I didn't add quite enough sugar, so it was a bit on the sour side, and I think I should have limited myself to 1/2-3/4l soda instead, as it got quite diluted. Regardless, it still tasted really good, so I'll consider it a success!

Wednesday, June 19, 2019

Week 24: Easy Chicken Tikka Masala

The Recipe
700g chicken in bite sized pieces
1 onion
3 garlic cloves
chili powder
Juice of 1 lime
2tbsp tomato paste
1tbsp paprika
1/2tsp cumin
1/2tsp tumeric
1tsp garam masala
1tsp salt
2dl yoghurt
2tbsp ground almonds (~20-30)
2tbsp cream
Wedges of lime to garnish

Add onion, garlic, ginger and chili powder to a bowl and use a handblender or similar to blend it. Add lime juice, tomato paste and the spices (paprika through salt) and mix into a fine paste.

Heat the oil in a pan over medium-high heat. Add the paste and cook for a few minutes until nice and fragrant. Add yoghurt and bring to a boil while stirring.

Put the chicken into a slow-cooker and pour the sauce over. Cook on HIGH for 3 hours or LOW for 6.

Mix in ground almonds and cream.

Serve with rice or naan bread. Garnish with wedges of lime and mango chutney.

The Verdict
I'd worried it might be a bit too hot, but actually it was rather mild in taste. Both the ginger and the chili was supposed to be fresh, but I used powder instead. Also, I didn't have any cream, but used milk instead. Don't think it made too much of a difference, since it's only 2 tbsp.

The spice palette worked really well! A bit tame for me, but the others liked it - and I could just add chutney and chili flakes to mine, so it was all good. The meat was a bit dry, unfortunately. I think next time I might either leave the chicken uncut while cooking, or I'd reduce the cooking time by ~1 hour (on low anyway).

Tuesday, May 21, 2019

Week 21: Coconut Curry Soup

The Recipe
(Serves 2)
~100g precooked protein - I used chicken, but the original recipe called for shrimp
1 carrot (not too big. I used half of a large one)
1/2 bell pepper
2 cloves garlic
1/2 onion
~100g rice vermicelli (very thin noodles)
1tsp ginger
2 tbsp red curry paste
1l chicken broth
1 can (400ml) coconut milk
salt, pepper
Juice from 1 lime

Julienne carrot and bell pepper. Put aside.

Mince garlic and julienne onion.

Heat oil in a large pot over medium heat. Add onion and cook until slightly soft. Add garlic, ginger and red curry paste and cook for about a minute until fragrant. Add broth and coconut milk and bring to a boil. Add salt and pepper to taste (add slightly more salt as you would otherwise - the noodles will absorb some of it).

Add noodles and boil for 2 minutes. Add the carrot and bell pepper and boil for another 2.

Split the precooked meat into two bowls and pour the boiling soup over. Squeeze some lime juice over. Serve immediately.

The Verdict
Two tablespoons of curry paste is a LOT, so this is a soup with more than just a bite. I loved it, but beware if you're making this for people who'd prefer less heat - I think it'd be far too much for my DH.

But apart from that I REALLY liked it! I didn't boil the noodles for quite long enough, so they still had a bit of bite, but not enough to detract. Really tasty and extremely easy to make.

Monday, May 20, 2019

Week 20: Mexican Pork Chops

The Recipe
4 pork chops
1/2 tsp salt
1 tsp cayenne pepper
1/2 tsp chili
1 tsp cumin
Juice from 1 lime
2 cloves garlic, chopped
2 tbsp honey
2 tbsp salsa

Mix together salt, cayenne pepper, chili and cumin in a bowl and lime juice, chopped garlic, honey and salsa in either a large bowl or a freezer bag. Sprinkle the pork chops with the spice-mix and place them in the box/bag with the salsa-mix, making sure to coat all sides. Let it marinade for at least 1 hour.

Heat oil on a pan and cook the chops until done.

Serve with rice and vegetables.

The Verdict
It was just borderline too spicy for DH, but I loved it. The salsa-honey mix worked really well. Perhaps I'll try just the marinade without the spices another time, to see if that works better.